Assessment Of Socio-Economic Status On Academic Performance Of Students With Hearing Impairment In University Of Jos

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ASSESSMENT OF SOCIO-ECONOMIC STATUS ON ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE OF STUDENTS WITH HEARING IMPAIRMENT IN UNIVERSITY OF JOS

ABSTRACT

This research thesis sought to assess the effect of socio-economicstatus on academic performance among Students of University of Jos for the hearing impaired. It presents the background, a review of related literature, the research design and methodology followed in conducting a case study of influence of social, economic and cultural factors on academic performance of hearing impaired Students at University of Jos, Plateau State. The study was guided by ecological model of human development authored by Bronfenbrenner (1979). Questionnaires for Students, Lecturers, parents and interview guide for the Registrar and the Vice Chancellor was used to provide data that guided the researcher in answering the four research questions: To what extent do social factors influence academic performance in University of Jos for the hearing impaired? What economic factors influence academic performance in University of Jos for the hearing impaired? Which cultural factors influence academic performance of University of Jos for the hearing impaired? What recommendations can be made to solve the challenges posed by social, cultural and economic influences of academic performance at University of Jos for the hearing impaired? The participants of this research were the registrar, the VC, Students, Lecturers and parents selected using stratified random sampling and purposive sampling. The findings were presented using percentages, frequency tables and graphs.   Based on the research questions it was found that social factors influence academic performance in University of Jos for the hearing impaired to a high extent. The economic factors that influence academic performance in University of Jos for the hearing impaired were noted to be the low income of the parents, lack of hearing devices and lack of textbooks were leading factors to poor academic performance of the Students in the school. Cultural factors such as negative community perception towards H.I children lead to discrimination, poor performance in school, and low motivation of the Students, traumatization and segregation. It was also unveiled that the challenges posed by social, cultural and economic factors influence on academic performance at University of Jos for the hearing impaired could be mitigated by the various recommendations to the government, the school and the community, and the parents as stated in the recommendation section (5.4) of this study.

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1 Background of the problem

Children with special needs have a right to education just like any other regular children as stipulated by Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) article 26. Education is a fundamental human right: Every child is entitled to it. Education is critical to our development as individuals and as societies, and it helps pave the way to successful and productive future (Wolfenson, 2000).

In the United States of America, disabilities inspired fearful or superstitious reactions, babies born with disabilities were sometimes left to die from exposure while adults were hidden away out of shame. They were not accepted in schools (Sacks, 2001).

A rights-based approach to education can address some of societies’ deeply rooted inequalities in education like those mentioned above. These inequalities condemn millions of children, particularly girls and the disabled to a life without quality education and, therefore, to a life of missed opportunities.

Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) article 26 emphasizes that everyone has a right to education. The research done by Opondo (2001) on factors contributing to low performance of hearing impaired in Nyanza Province states that people saw it not relevant to educate children with serious disability because the society saw them contributing nothing to community development.

Up until the 18th and 19th centuries, people who were different or with disabilities inspired fearful or superstitious reactions. Some people believed God (or a god) inflicted disabilities as a punishment. Various individuals, some motivated by religion, others by science, eventually called for the reform on how society treats those with disabilities (Sacks, 2001).

The main aim of educating persons with hearing impairment is to give them power to attain a position in intellectual knowledge, personal happiness and in social welfare as near to that of the “hearing person as possible” (Marschark, 2007).

Despite all the recommendations stipulated by the above commissions and committees, the education system and teaching methods disadvantage learners with special needs (Gregory 1998); they are expected to fit into the regular curriculum not withstanding their special needs.  This has ultimately led to deterioration of special education development in Nigeria consequently resulting to low academic performance of learners with hearing impairment.

1.2 Statement of the Problem

Environment shapes the way an organization configures its activities and resources to create a unique and valuable visible output in the market place (Merle, 2003). In order to survive, grow and succeed, an organization needs to maintain a strategic fit by relevantly responding to the environmental dynamism, instability, heterogeneity and uncertainty so as to combat forces that would threaten its market stability. Some parents do not capitalize on the interests and knowledge of their children and feel that education is not important (Colema, 1998). They are more interested in giving their children the low basic economic needs as compared to education which is high level economic need.

In Nigeria, despite the high allocation of government funds to special schools, special training of Lecturers, provision of learning resources, all these are not fully effective as special schools continue posting poor results. Schools of hearing impairment are faced with many challenges affecting their academic performance namely communication, curriculum, social and economic just to name but a few. In order to improve the academic performance there is need to look at other factors other than teaching and learning resources. As a result the researcher will assess the socio-economic factors influencing academic performance at University of JosStudents who have hearing impairment.

In some cases administrators and Lecturers are held responsible without considering that there may be other factors influencing the performance. The question is, are they fully responsible for the poor academic performances? The researcher seeks to establish the root cause of the deterioration of the academic performance.

Scholars and educationists may also ask themselves how the social, economic and cultural factors affect academic performance of schools of hearing impaired Students.

Most of the researches done on hearing impaired Students have mainly focused on social interaction and family perception of the deaf. A review of related literature indicates that although a number of studies have been carried out on issues of special education, few studies have dealt with factors influencing the hearing impaired academic performance more so at University of Jos for the hearing impaired. For example, Opondo (2001) investigated general factors contributing to low academic performance in hearing impaired schools in Plateau state. This study focused mainly on social, economic and cultural factors influencing academic performance at University of JosStudents who are impaired from hearing.

In order to improve the academic performance of hearing impaired Students, there is need for data on the various factors that influence their performance. Specifically given the falling academic performance of Students of inSchools in Nigeria, there is need to collect data and analyze the social, economic and cultural factors influencing academic performance of the hearing impaired. Therefore this study intends to assess the socio-economic factors influencing academic performance of hearing impaired students of University of Jos.

1.3 Research Questions

The following research questions guided the study

  1. To what extent do social factors influence academic performance in University of Jos for the hearing impaired?
  2. What economic factors influence academic performance in University of Jos for the hearing impaired?
  3. Which cultural factors influence academic performance of University of Joss for the hearing impaired?

4 What recommendations can help improve academic performance at University of Jos for the hearing impaired?

          1.4 RESEARCH OBJECTIVES

The following research objectives include:

  1. To determine the social factors influencing academic performance of hearinv impaired students in the University of Jos.
  2. Determine the economic factors influencing academic performance of hearing impaired students in University of Jos.
  3. Determine the cultural factors influencing academic performance of hearing impaired students of University of Jos.

4 Make recommendations that  can help improve academic performance at University of Jos for the hearing impaired.

1.5 Significance of the Study

The study is aimed at establishing the social, economic and cultural factors influencing academic performance of hearing impaired students in University of Jos. The study findings would assist the parents to accept disability and give equal opportunities to their children disregarding their disability. The study would instill into Students a sense of self confidence, assertiveness and role taking in the community.  It was to enable Lecturers understand other factors other than teaching and learning resources that influence academic performances and develop mechanisms of tackling them. The study will help the government to address and solve the social, economic and cultural factors influencing academic performance of the hearing impaired.

Educational experts, policy makers and other concerned parties would use the study findings to review the educational policies influencing the hearing impaired children. The study findings would provide information to donors, sponsors and other organizations to assist the school economically. The findings would assist the government through the ministry of education, allocate more funds to special schools during financial year budgeting. The study would create awareness on the vital inevitable role in contributing to special child’s education.

1.6. Scope and Delimitation of the Study

The study was carried out in university of Jos, Plateau State. The school was selected because it is currently involved in the promotion of education for the hearing impaired children and it is among the oldest schools serving the hearing impaired children in Nigeria. The researcher selected the school because it would assist in investigating the real situation on the factors influencing the academic performance for hearing impaired Students.

This investigation was to take into account the social, economic and cultural factors which influence the academic performance in the selected school. The researcher believes that the selected school was to generate comprehensive information on the major factors influencing academic performance in the school. This was to help the researcher to draw conclusions on the issue. Due to limited time and resources the researcher did not investigate the environmental, psychological and physical or political factors affecting academic performance in the school.

The study was delimited to hearing impaired Students and their class Lecturers. The classes for the study included classes six, seven and eight. This was because the Student’s academic performance could be evaluated based on the fact that the Students had been in school for some time and one could establish whether the Student was performing well or not by looking at the Student’s progressive report or record. Besides that, the Student was in position to state whether he/she had improved or dropped in academic performance through continuous assessment tests and end of year exams.

1.7 Theoretical Framework

The study was grounded on Urie Bronfenbrenner ecological model of human development (1979). The theory looked at the child’s development within the context of the system of relationship that formed his/ her environment. The theory had four complex

“layers” of environment each having an effect on the child’s development. The four layers were microsystems, mesosystems, exosystems and macrosystems.

Swick (2005) in Urie’s book states that today many families are faced with many stressors during early childhood years, The parents of deaf in Jos community are most likely to face many stressors when they find out that they have given birth to handicapped children. They are most likely to experience shock denial and it may take them long to accept.

Families of children with special needs and disability may face many stressors at all levels of interaction with example friends and the community. The attitude of the society may view a child as blemish on the family’s reputation or as a deviant. The same society may play an important role when it accepts people with disability.

Societies that feel that children with disability should not be brought into public arena may not be willing to assist the family with a disabled child (Sack, 2001). For example if the society of the hearing impaired Students at University of Josaccept them and does not see them as blemish on the families reputation then their self-esteem will grow and they will perform better academically.

In Bronfenbrenner’s first layer of interaction, the microsystem refers to the structures with which the child has direct contact (Bronfenbrenner, 1979). The microsystem encompasses the relationships and interactions a child has with her immediate surroundings (Berk, 2000). Structures in the microsystem include family, school, neighborhood, or childcare environments. At this level, relationships have impact in two directions, both away from the child and toward the child. For example, a child’s parents may affect his beliefs and behavior; however, the child also affects the behavior and beliefs of the parent. A setting made up of the environment where the child lives and moves, the people and the institution the child interacts with for example family members, child care, school teacher, peers and neighborhood play area becomes very important to the child’s academic performance.

The positive setting where deaf children at University of Jos come from has a lot of impact on the academic performance of deaf children at the School, if parents believe that they are cursed and always sympathize with self and the child, this will eventually affect the beliefs of the child and retard his development and his self-esteem. Bronfenbrenner farther states that the more encouraging and nurturing the interactions are the more the child’s personality is built. This influences a lot the child’s academic performance at school.

The theory’s second layer mesosystem refers to relations between microsystems connections between contexts. It is the relation of family experiences to school experiences, school to church and family to peers, example: A child who experiences parental rejection may have difficulty with school; certain peer influences may cause family turmoil relationship between different parts of Microsystems and how they work together for the good of the child, example the relationship between family experiences with school experiences and family experiences with those of the peer groups. Children rejected in family environment tend to reject positive student teacher relationship.  The deaf children at University of Jos School are likely to portray positive student teacher relationship when accepted in the family environment, this will make them perform well academically as involvement of parents or care takers in school environment plays a positive role in child’s overall growth.

A hearing impaired child in the family is welcomed with mixed feelings and confusion, blames and accusations arise between parents, which many at times result to daily quarrels and even divorce. This may hinder child’s development because of the mixed message the child receives and may affect their academic performance (Schultz et.al, 1991)

The third layer exosystem affects the child indirectly. It refers to the experiences in a social setting in which an individual does not have an active role but which nevertheless influence experience in an immediate context for example a parent’s job experiences which affects family life which in turn will affect children in the form of travel requirements, job stress, amount of money. The economy of the family may affect the child’s growth as it directly dictates the amount of support received from either.

Lack of proper feeding and medication due to poor economy may retard the child’s development thus leading to poor academic performance as a hungry and unhealthy person’s concentration spun is very low. Parents at University of Jos School for the hearing impaired may be of diverse economic level. This is likely to affects the children’s development in various ways.

The last layer in Brofenbrenner’s theory is macrosystem which refers to the attitudes/ideologies of the culture in which individuals live such as Judeo-Christian ethic, democracy and ethnicity. The believes and cultures in certain communities that a handicapped child is useless and that there is no need for him to be taken to school can easily affect the child’s performance as they have negative influence on the child’s development (Sacks, 2001). Some communities believe that God or a god has inflicted disability as a punishment to parents.  At St. Martin’s School for the Hearing Impaired most children may be a shame to their parents and the community at large. As a result the parents may hide them.

According to Bronfenbrenner (1979) ecological theory of development is the relationship in the immediate microsystem breaks down then the child will not have tools to explore the other parts of the environment. We therefore do not expect a hearing impaired child who has been rejected in his/her immediate environment to perform academically well. Children at University of Jos for the hearing impaired can easily exhibit this signs of incapability in academic performance if there is a break down in the immediate relationship. Bronfenbrenner further states that the break down has a direct implication on the practice of teaching. He goes on to pose a question; is it possible for our educational systems to make up for these deficiencies in the layers break downs?

As a result, Bronfenbrenner (1979) suggests that it is in the best interest of our entire society to lobby for political and economic policies that will support the importance of parent’s roles in their children’s development.

Strengths and weakness of the ecological theory

Some of the strengths of Bronfenbrenner ecological theory of human development are that it makes parents Lecturers and the entire community realize the importance each plays in bringing up a anew born child. It links family experiences to school experiences of the child. If parents of the hearing impaired at University of Jos realize the role they play in bringing up their children then they will not neglect their hearing impaired children and they will be able to send them to school and meet their basic needs.

Some of the weakness of the theory is that if relationship in the immediate microsystem breaks down then the child will not have tools to explore the other parts of the environment. This applies to the hearing impaired child in that if the parents ignore him/her then the child will not be free to interact with others at school. However despite the short comings, Bronfenbrenner’s ecological model of human development seemed to be the most appropriate to this study because the advantages outweigh the disadvantages.

1.8 Conceptual frame work

The figure below shows the relationship of social, economic and cultural factors influencing academic performance.

Figure 1.1 Conceptual Framework

For successful academic performance to be realized, there are so many factors to be considered namely: political, social, environmental just to name a few. In this study the researcher focused on economic social and cultural factors influencing academic performance of University of Jos School for the Hearing impairment.

Economic stability of parents plays a key role to learners with hearing impairment in terms of timely fee payment and provision of hearing devices (Powers and Gregory, 1998). If parents have stable income and are able to pay school dues on time, buy hearing devices then cases of being sent home for school fees or staying home more than unnecessary due to lack of school fees may be minimal. The timely government remission of grants and the school sponsors will boost the economic status of the school thus leading to the smooth learning and high concentration in academics. These will make Students to perform well. The Registrar who is the administrator will be able to provide learning and teaching resources. He will employ more Lecturers to subsidize the

Teacher’s Service Commission (T.S.C) employees and there will be minimal economic challenges. If Students have no economic support from the parents, they do not pay school dues on time, do not support their children and have a tendency of taking children to school and dumping them there without the basic needs. Then the school will opt to send the Students home. In this case learners are likely to miss on their lessons thus face difficulties in catching up and therefore reflect poor performance. This will highly influence the academic performance of Students thus posting poor results.

The over stretching of these resources may lead to poor academic performance example of few text book in the case of home work may not be completed on time lagging others behind thus influencing performance.

Social interaction is very important to human beings. It is through social interactions that one is able to learn imitate and comprehend communication. Social interaction enables one to evaluate self positively and develop high self-esteem. Poor social interaction can lead to decreased role-taking ability. The hearing impaired persons have poor social interaction due to lack of spoken language. This withholds appropriate opportunities to socialize with significant others. The deaf children’s impression of the hearing discloses that the hearing persons have negative attitude towards the deaf, thus there is inclination of the deaf towards their deaf peers at school and wide opportunity for their social interaction using their own sign language.

The deaf children have negative evaluation of themselves, and are negatively evaluated by hearing persons as attributed to their inability to have adequate interaction, thereby develop feelings of inferiority, loneliness, and frustration, as they are not accepted by hearing persons.

The deaf are yet to be accepted fully in their society. According to Bench (1992), the greater the hearing impairment, the greater the degree of relative social isolation, even with the most caring and sympathetic environment.

People see them as a curse (Sack, 2001), they are stereotyped and labeled in many communities example in the luhya community they are called “Abasiru”, in the Kisii community, they refer to them as “Limama” and in Nigeria they refer to them as “momo” all this meaning stupid (Barnes,1991). They have poor interaction with the peers, parents and professionals. This affects their self-concept and their academic performance as the Students feel low esteemed, feel rejected they are always unable to perform well and this influences their academic performance.

Social development and language development are intertwined in that delayed language acquisition experienced by deaf children leads to more limited opportunities for social interactions and frustrations to them as well as their parents. The feelings of others about aborted attempts at communication are negative and lead to frustrations thus affecting their academic performance. The protectiveness most families have for their deaf children contribute a lot to retarded development. This kind of children cannot easily interact at school; they feel lost and portray dependence. These has a lot of influence on academic performance as it makes them lose confidence participating in class activities and extra-curricular activities.

The culture of most communities is still negative towards disabled persons and girl education. This becomes worse when it comes to a deaf child. Culture has it that it is useless to educate a deaf child in that he/she will contribute nothing in the development of the community (Joutselainen, 1993) in Tesfy research. Cultural activities like pastoralists value the keeping of animals than anything else. Deaf children are seen as curse, they are viewed as blemish on the family reputation(Sacks,2001).

This concept amongst the hearing impaired children kills their morale in putting more effort in education as they imagine a dark future in the end of the tunnel. Some people in certain communities discriminate the hearing impaired children. A man with disabled child has no voice before others. He is discriminated and people hardly accept to get married in his family.

Culturally, the deaf are marginalized. No hearing person is ready to marry or get married to them since there is fear of the unknown and assumption that they might too give birth to the hearing impaired children.

ASSESSMENT OF SOCIO-ECONOMIC STATUS ON ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE OF STUDENTS WITH HEARING IMPAIRMENT IN UNIVERSITY OF JOS

 

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